A film as measured as its title. A date and a year seem superfluous. Everyone in Romania knows what took place at this precise moment. We might like to be reminded of the year, but within the framework of the film that would be completely unnecessary. What in actuality happened in 1989 on 22 December at exactly 12:08 is that dictator Ceaucescu fled from his presidential palace.
The film provides a humorous and occasionally corny yet sharp portrait of Ceaucescu’s overthrow and his hated Securitate regime, as seen from a local perspective. The maker dares to show a boring provincial TV talk-show in all its unfettered boringness. And its duration. And with his disconcerting truth that the revolution seems to have passed this small town by. The choice to adopt the form of an almost amateur talk-show for this film is as simple as it is brilliant.
The talk-show host has great difficulty finding two people to talk on the 16th anniversary of the great event about how the revolution reached their home town (or didn’t reach it). The guests are soon forced to toe the line by viewers calling in and denying everyone an opportunity of pretending to be more heroic than they really had been. This film is almost laconical. Simple, apparently. Yet from a historical and political perspective it is as sharp as a razor. (GjZ)